what alcohol is in a martini

Who mixed the world’s first Martini? Was it a California prospector during the 1849 Gold Rush or the barman at a New York City hotel 50 years later? Most likely, the Martini is a cocktail that came onto the scene in multiple places at once, as an increasing number of bartenders began to experiment with gin and vermouth.

One fact we do know: The drink’s original form, according to early recipes, was sweet. Nineteenth-century cocktail books regularly called for Italian (sweet) vermouth. The Dry Martini took its current form by the turn of the century, when the new order of the day was dry gin, dry vermouth, and perhaps a dash of orange bitters for good measure.

When making the drink, it’s imperative to start with good ingredients—there’s no place to hide poor quality gin or vermouth in such a straightforward cocktail. Begin with a London dry-style gin. From there, add a little dry vermouth. The ratio is negotiable, but common formulas for a Dry Martini typically fall in the range of four-to-eight parts gin to one part vermouth. A dash of orange bitters ties the room together.

Despite the exacting demands of a certain fictional British spy, the Martini is meant to be stirred, not shaken. The cocktail should be clear, and without ice shards. Be sure to stir it for at least 20 to 30 seconds to yield the proper dilution necessary to bring the ingredients into balance. Then, strain it into the glass named after the cocktail itself. Twist a lemon peel over the top, and there you have it: a Dry Martini. It’s a drink worth getting to the bottom of.

It’s also a drink that’s spurred countless variations. No, we’re not talking about the ubiquitous ’Tinis of the 1980s and ’90s. We mean the legitimate variations, like the Vodka Martini (self-explanatory), the Reverse Martini (swap your gin and vermouth ratios) and the Perfect Martini, which features an equal split of dry and sweet vermouth. Master the Dry Martini first, then try your hand at mixing its relatives.

what alcohol is in a martini

What Makes a Martini Dry?

“Dry” is a common cocktail modifier that generally means a heavier proportion of higher-proof spirit to lower-alcohol mixer. In the case of the Martini, this means more gin and less vermouth.

Dry drinks often taste more powerfully of alcohol, though their exact proportions vary wildly and often depend on specific drinks and personal tastes. Worth noting, a Dry Martini doesn’t omit vermouth entirely, despite the clichéd refrain of asking bartenders to only “look at the vermouth.”

What’s the Best Gin-to-Vermouth Ratio for a Dry Martini?

The gin-to-vermouth ratio of a Dry Martini can fluctuate greatly based on individual preferences. However, as a rule of thumb, a 5:1 ratio of gin to vermouth is the standard for a Dry Martini. This takes the 2:1 spirit-to-vermouth ratio of other spirit-forward classic cocktails (like the Manhattan) and modifies it to functionally mean an additional 1/2 ounce of spirit, and 1/2 ounce less vermouth, making it “dry.”

How To Make A Great Martini at Home


What kind of alcohol is a martini?

The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. A popular variation, the vodka martini, uses vodka instead of gin for the cocktail’s base spirit.

Is a martini just straight vodka?

A standard martini has about one part of vermouth to about four parts of gin or vodka, though this may vary a bit based on the pour, bartender, and establishment. However, it’s still a good rule of thumb – vodka makes up most of the drink, with vermouth adding a botanical bouquet of aromas and flavors.

Are martinis 100% alcohol?

A Martini is made using either gin or vodka with the addition of vermouth, a fortified wine which has a low alcohol content. Removing the vermouth from this mix makes this drink ‘bone dry’ and possibly one of the most alcoholic drinks you can get, as it’s made with 100 per cent alcohol.

What is in a classic martini?

A chilled gin martini served up in a graceful cocktail glass is one of the most elegant and sophisticated drinks around. The classic martini recipe is fairly simple—just gin, vermouth, and an olive or lemon peel (and possibly some orange bitters).

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